WFH: Work From Home

I’ve a usually WFH job and now I’ve got enough experience with it to have opinions, so here is the good, the bad, the ugly.

The caveat here is I don’t work for Github, a company famous for a functioning, remote workforce. I work somewhere where only formal communications go out by mailing list, MS Teams/Slack has zero adoption, etc.

The Good.
Generally less commute, less time in the car.

You can potentially, finally get a quiet office with a door.

The Bad, The Ugly.
Organizational onboarding just never happens. You never get the introductions to anyone, so you never develop the informal connections. You are free to cold call people in the organization, but odds are, you don’t even know who to cold call. This is true for everyone above you, below you or at the same level as you in the organization chart. I’m guessing the organization is running on the informal connections made before telework got started, or those rebels that chose to stay at the office despite widespread telework.

You wake up every morning not sure if you need to head into work. Onsite meetings generally get canceled minutes before they start.

Because you are an offsite worker, you don’t get even a cubicle assigned to you at the actual office building, you get to use the public computer lab. So every time you have to go pee or eat lunch, you have to pack up your entire workspace or just hope no one is going to pilfer your stuff in the computer lab or give it to lost & found.

My quiet home office with a door is actually just a bedroom with a door. The lawnmowers & garbage men are outside my window everyday, loud enough that folk on the phone can’t hear me.

Mentally switching to and from “work mode” doesn’t happen. I either get stuck in “at home” mode or “at work mode”, usually, “at home” mode, which is a mess for productivity.

The main tool for communication is Outlook, so there is no equivalent of a “chat room” where you can post a question. There are only mailing lists of 50 to 150 people. I never see informal communication on these.

Work from home will fall short if the organization isn’t Github & there isn’t the equivalent of slack & if there isn’t a formal onboarding policy that makes sure that a new employee actually interacts with people. Putting the new hires in a room of 250 people who they won’t even be working with & the meet 35 people in 35 minutes as you walk around the office at random doesn’t count– that shit is what pure-onsite orgs do when they know they don’t have to get onboarding right because everyone you need to work with is going to be within 10 feet of your cubicle & the relationships will form naturally.

In otherwords, work-from-home probably destroyed Yahoo.


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